Nouveau guitar god Chris Forsyth pulls together a crew of locals for an all-star jam | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Nouveau guitar god Chris Forsyth pulls together a crew of locals for an all-star jam


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East-coast native Chris Forsyth has been making waves the past few years as a nouveau guitar god. His approach to his craft positions him somewhere between classicists (Jerry Garcia, Richard Thompson) and improvising avant-garde rule breakers (Loren Connors, Robert Quine). This makes it less surprising to find out that Forsyth was tutored by Television’s Richard Lloyd—whose own aesthetic encompasses all those virtuosic guitar styles—while living in New York in the late 90s and early 00s. In 2003, Forsyth started the self-described “gothic junk folk expressionist” trio Peeesseye with Chicago musician Jaime Fennelly (Mind Over Mirrors) and Glasgow-based drummer Fritz Welch, and at the end of the decade he moved to Philly, where he began concentrating on acoustic guitar picking in the vein of Jack Rose. Forsyth attracted acclaim as a solo artist for years before emerging as a bandleader on 2013’s Solar Motel (Paradise of Bachelors), whose triumphant, defiant-but-classic jams touched a nerve among listeners—some hailed it as a modern guitar-stormin’ masterpiece. Thus the Solar Motel Band were born, and the following year they released their first proper album, 2014’s Solar Live (as Chris Forsyth & the Solar Motel Band), via No Quarter Records. Since then, Forsyth and varying configurations of the group have stayed busy—just like the sprawling solos on their excessive 2016 double LP, The Rarity of Experience. In April, Forsyth dropped the new album All Time Present under his own name, though it includes contributions from longtime co-conspirators such as bassist Peter Kerlin (Sunwatchers) and drummer Ryan Jewell (Ryley Walker). And this three-date tour by Chris Forsyth & the Broken Mirrors Motel Band features yet another group: locals Fennelly, Doug McCombs, and Areif Sless-Kitain. Like its predecessors, this new configuration probably won’t last long, but McCombs’s elastic Tortoise-ian bass should be a perfect foil for Forsyth’s guitar landscapes—miss this all-star jam at your peril.   v

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